National plans for energy and transport show Europe is set to increase significantly biofuel use. By 2020, biofuels will provide 9.5% of total energy in transport; 92% of these fuels will come from food crops (such as oil seeds, palm oil, sugar cane, sugar beet, wheat).
This will require an expansion of cultivated agricultural land globally, converting forests, grasslands and peat lands into crop fields. Up to 69 000 km2 will be affected – an area over twice the size of Belgium.
Total net GHG emissions from biofuels could be as much as 56 million tonnes of extra CO2 per year, the equivalent of an extra 12 to 26 million cars on Europe’s roads by 2020. This means that instead of being 35 to 50% less polluting than fossil fuels (as required by the Renewable Energy Directive (RED)), once land use impacts are included, the extra biofuels that will come to the EU market will be on average 81% to 167% worse for the climate than fossil fuels.